Friday, 28 March 2014

Macarons - Foodie Friday

by Bex

The lovely Diana came over recently to help me make my first batch of macarons using a recipe she adapted from another blog.  See her blog, a dizzy girl, for details (and for the salted caramel ganache!).  I am sharing her recipe and tips here with her permission along with the photos we took in my kitchen on the day and my notes in italic.  Of course, I made my macarons green!  ;)  I was extremely pleased with the way they turned out - a pretty good success rate, all thanks to some fantastic supervision from my instructor - thanks D!  :)


Ingredients
100g ground almonds
110g egg whites 
200g  icing sugar
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Method
Prepare a template on the back of greaseproof paper by drawing round a coin or something circular.  I suggest a £2 coin.  (I made mini ones and bigger ones.)  Put the paper on top of a baking sheet. 

Whisk the egg whites.  Once they start to foam, add one tablespoon of sugar at a time.  Continue whisking until the mixture is stiff.  If adding colour, do it after the sugar has been added. 


Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl.  This could take a while as the almonds are rarely fine enough!  You need elbow grease to push it through the sieve.  Fold the dry mix into the egg whites gently. 


Put the mix into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe onto the template.  Once done, bang the baking tray on the worktop a few times to release any air bubbles. 



Set aside the macarons for an hour to develop a skin on top. 

Bake for approx 10-11 minutes at 150 oC.  I test that mine are ready by wobbling them slightly.  If the top wobbles, they need another minute or so.  Watch them closely, as they can turn brown very easily.  (You can see mine started to go despite constant rotating and leaving the door ajar, my oven is always hotter in the back right corner!)

Remove from the oven and cool.  They should have a dimply "foot" and a smooth surface on top. 

Pretty chuffed with those feet!

Carefully peel from the greaseproof paper.  I lift the paper up and peel it away from the macaron.  Don't be tempted to twist the macaron off the paper!  (I had varied success in removing them - I found a very thin spatula useful to gently scrape them off but only after they've fully cooled or they're too sticky!)

Varied success in peeling them off - loved the sticky middles though!

If the macarons are slightly uneven in size, pair up similar sized ones ready for filling. 

Fillings
The most common filling for a macaron is a simple chocolate ganache.  Simply dollop a little bit of filling on the bottom macaron and gently sandwich them together. 

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

100g good quality dark chocolate
100 ml double cream

Break up the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to the boil, then let it cool for one minute.  Pour over the cream and stir until smooth.  Cool and then use to sandwich the macarons. 


My first macaron!

Tips

Ok, first of all, this isn't a quick bake.  You need to rest the macarons so it's not something that can be whipped up quickly. 

The aging of the egg whites IS important.  My one disastrous batch of macarons were made with non-aged egg whites.  I use liquid egg whites (Two Chicks, normally in the ready made pastry section of a supermarket) and leave them out at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours.  If I was using actual egg whites, I'd age them for at least 12 hours but the longer the better. 

If you are adding colour, use powder or gel.  It's best not to add any more liquid to the mix. 

If you find the macarons go brown easily while cooking, prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon. 

I only ever make one baking tray load at a time, in the centre of my oven.  I've found that it's hard to bake them evenly otherwise. 

Make a template to help pipe the circles.  For mini-macarons like my pink ones, I used a 10p coin.  For normal sized ones, a £2 coin is about right!

It's really important not to over mix the egg whites and dry ingredients.  One way to test it is to drop a small dollop of the mix onto a plate.  If it smooths out, then the mix is ready.  If it looks grainy and rough, it needs a little more mixing. 



I ran out of ganache for the last few so I whipped up some double cream with a tiny bit of icing sugar and some apple sauce!  I actually preferred these ones but my chocoholic husband adored the chocolate ones of course!


Thanks so much Diana for being an awesome teacher and making my first batch a huge success!  :)

(I also suggest you check out Diana's recipe for salted caramel cheesecake bites - I've tasted them and they are sooooo good!)

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